30 The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.
accents—" Who are you ?" He received no reply. He repeated his demand in a still more agitated voice. Still there was no answer.
Once more he cudgelled the sides of the inflexible Gunpowder, and,
shutting his eyes, broke forth with involuntary fervor into a psalm-
tune. Just then the shadowy object of alarm put itself in motion, and, with a scramble and a bound, stood at once in the middle of the
road. Though the night was dark and dismal, yet the form of the
unknown might now in some degree be ascertained. He appeared
to be a horseman of large dimensions, and mounted on a black horse
of powerful frame. He made no offer of molestation or sociability,
but kept aloof on one side of the road, jogging along on the blind side of old Gunpowder, who had now got over his fright and way-
Ichabod, who had no relish for his strange midnight companion,
and bethought himself of the adventure of Brom Bones with the Gal-
loping Hessian, now quickened his steed, in hopes of leaving him
behind. The stranger, however, quickened his horse to an equal pace.
Ichabod pulled up, and fell into a walk, thinking to lag behind,—the
other did the same. His heart began to sink within him ; he endeavored to resume his psalm-tune, but his parched tongue clove to the
roof of his mouth, and he could not utter a stave. There was something in the moody and dogged silence of this pertinacious companion
that was mysterious and appalling. It was soon fearfully accounted
for. On mounting a rising ground, which brought the figure of his
fellow-traveller in relief against the sky, gigantic in height, and muffled in a cloak, Ichabod was horror-struck, on perceiving that he was
headless !—but his horror was still more increased, on observiner that
the head, which should have rested on his shoulders, was carried
before him on the pommel of the saddle : his terror rose to desperation ; he rained a shower of kicks and blows upon Gunpowder, hoping,
by a sudden movement, to give his companion the slip,—but the spectre started full jump with him. Away then they dashed, through
thick and thin ; stones flying, and sparks flashing at every bound.
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